Car dealer shake-up
Car dealers across Australia are about to face their biggest shake-up, and shake-out, as the fallout begins from the decisions by Ford and Holden to shut their Australian factories.
Toyota dealers here should be fine, even though the Japanese giant is also closing its manufacturing operation at Altona in Victoria, but the other Aussies won’t need anywhere near as many dealers once they make the transition to a full import future.
Changes are already underway as the multifranchise model gets an overhaul and brands such as Mazda, Hyundai, Kia and Volkswagen continue on their growth run down under.
Even Roger Penske, the American billionaire best known for his racing team’s successes in the Indy 500, is moving into the dealer scene in Australia. He has already taken on the Western Star truck franchise, is considering an entry into V8 Supercars racing in 2015, and is believed to be picking up agencies for Volkswagen and other up-market European car brands.
Dozens of dealerships could go as Ford and Holden downsize to match the size of their network to their projected sales.
For instance, Sydney stalwart Alto Ford wound up late last year.
Full details are yet to emerge but the picture will become much clearer by the end of 2014, as the sustainable sales rate for the Commodore and Falcon allows the companies to develop a better plan for their future beyond 2017.